Best army bases for families?

Grace - posted on 04/30/2009 ( 63 moms have responded )

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DH is enlisting in army and we were wondering what bases/posts we should put on the "dream sheet", not saying that we would get anything on the list. We are very family-orientated with little kids, enjoy all outdoor activities, don't mind all kinds of weather, health conscious, and I need a college nearby for my BS in nursing. We were looking at possibly Colorado, Ft. Lewis in WA, and some day would like Hawaii or Florida or Europe. Thank you so much.

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Karen - posted on 05/10/2013

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I absolutely love APG (Aberdeen proving Grounds MD). The actual post is less to be desired but the area is great. We have beaches, mountains, big cities Philly or Baltimore less than 2 hours away. I eat really well here. Here are so many p,aces to eat and many locally owner non chained places. I live in a small town 5 minutes from post called Havre De Grace. It is on the water with lots of sail boats etc. there is a MARC and Amtrack train 5 minutes from my house by post that can take you into DC unless than 2 hours for $10 each way. Top rated schools as well. And tons of shopping. Ip it is located where you can be in VA, Deleware or PA in just minutes. Lancaster is super close so Amish goods are nearby. Oh did I mention the vast amount of farms? Lots of fresh food and such a fun place for kids. We will be here 5 years before we move and I will be kicking and screaming. I have lived at Ft. Sill back in 1999 and HATED that place. I was so unhappy. Maybe ifi lived on post i would have had a different exoerience but Lawton was in the middle of nowhere? I met my husband at Bragg and I know he wants to go back but he will have to commute because I am from Fayetteville and will never live there again. Trashy and terrible school and just crime ridden. We lived at West Point the US military academy in NY and I thought that was the most beautiful place I ever lived until I moved here. But West Point is an excellent post to live on with a wonderful community. Just expect to drive forever to do anything off post.

Karina - posted on 06/24/2013

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Fort Lewis, WA is very nice. It has a beautiful mountain call MT. Rainier and u can basically see it from anywhere. We were stationed there for 3 years. Its very family oriented and alot of things and places to see. Then we were stationed to Fort campbell, KY, not too family oriented or many things to do. This base was half on the kentucky side and the other half on the tennessee side. which is what i liked u can say you're in 2 places at once. Its very country so theres not much to so unless u go to nashville, TN which was about 45min. to an hour from the base. Now we're in Okinawa, Japan, its an island of mainland Japan. Its beautiful here. So many family things to do. So many places to c and beaches to go to and the food is great. The only thing is this island is about 65 miles long and about 17 miles wide. it may seem small but its really not. theres alot more to do here than in fort campbell( and that base shared 2 states). I've been here for 5 months and it's been fun. I'm sure theres alot of other great bases out there but i've only been to 3. Hope you like the military life and enjoy being a military wife as much as i do. I hope you get a great place. the dream sheet doesnt come til alot later. But i wish you the best in your new home.

Jennifer - posted on 01/24/2013

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We are at Ft.Bliss and yes they are expanding the base but the city of El Paso is horrible! You have a handful of ports from Mexico all over the city, so you have to be a good driver or be prepared to get in an accident from them not knowing how to drive properly in the states. And they don't have insurance half the time or just drive away so you will foot the bill. The unemployment rate is currently 8.2% which is higher then the national average and state average, so if you thought not speaking Spanish was your only bridge to cross. . Good luck. There are no outdoor activities for families like putt putt golf or a nice park. Everything is dirt,dirt, and rocks! No grass unless you live off base in an apartment complex which will cost you a pretty penny. (We did it the first two years we were here but got tired of paying stupid high rent) Customer service skills are the poorest I have ever seen in a city. Going out to eat is a hit or miss due to servers being use to a 10% tip from the internationals that come over daily, cable (selection sucks. . same reruns every week) phone,etc are awful!!!! If you want something to do on a Saturday night your only choices are going out to eat or to the movies. The malls have a few good quality stores but most of the stores you might be use to pottery barn, H&M, Joann's superstore, Home Goods, etc are not here due to the internationals coming over and ransacking the stores to sell back in Mexico. And the school system is not any better. I would say the base schools are good but since Ft.Bliss became a open base and the local children can attend, the level of excellence has dropped. I am use to schools that are rated in the AA category and these are not even remotely close!! Also, if you are athletic like I am good luck finding the same classes you did at your currently location. I love the Barre classes for example and can't find them but at one place on the westside and it's not even the real class it is a El Paso version. Travel sucks to.. airline tickets are overpriced due to it being a borderland city and to get anywhere is a minimum of4 to 6 hours away. This city has a lot of overweight people and not a lot of healthy options for life style. Overall, we CANNOT wait to get the heck out of here!!! I hate it so much I regret my daughter had to be born here. We are originally from the east coast and are use to better work ethic, outdoor activities, water sports, and clean lifestyle. The desert is not the life for us!!

Melissa - posted on 09/11/2012

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Fort Stewart is awful its swampy and stinks sometimes outside. Theres nothing to do here inlesL you drive one hour to savannah the people are rude its way to humid. The water smells funny when you live in the south. I dont know where your originally from but if your not used to humidity then dont move here. Oh and it is really gehtto out here if you do get sent here i should really live in savannah. And make the hubby drive the hour to work.

Jessica - posted on 06/05/2012

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We are currently stationed in Hawaii. I personally think everyone should experience it at least once during your military career. It is very expensive and far away. Plane tickets home are far from cheap. The school system is improving but has a long way to go. There is plenty to do, but don't do it all at once. Spread out your activities after about the first year and a half it can get pretty boring. The weather is always the same (expect during the rainy season). But the down side is the tourist, they are all over. Being that we live here it can become annoying. Other than that it is absolutely beautiful here. I have never taken a bad picture here. I am glad my children got to live here.

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Briana - posted on 05/05/2014

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We are at fort Bragg... The housing is nice... Lots of pools, parks, bowling lanes, and gyms on base. The area off post is debatable. There are a few areas I wouldn't personally go into, but there are also a lot of areas we do enjoy going into. No beaches, but we have found some pretty good places to go fishing. No matter where you go it is all about your outlook. Best of luck!

Tammy - posted on 03/30/2014

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Where are you stationed at that has the college with the great nursing program?

Bri - posted on 03/01/2014

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Fort drum is awful i hate it fort jackson is nice im frm there n its plenty to do off base

Hailey - posted on 02/16/2014

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Why is Drum awful? I have been to Schofield in Hawaii and we are currently at Lewis in WA and have been here for over 4 years. I really want to go back to HI or check out Drum. You are the first person I've seen to not like Drum, so I was just curious to why. I don't like Lewis (but I'm originally from this area) and I see everyone loves Lewis and I don't get that either. lol

Hailey - posted on 02/16/2014

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What MOS is your husband in - those sound like amazing places (west point & the base in MD). My husbands mos is very generic and likely we will never go to any place really neat. Currently we are at Ft. Lewis. We have been here for over 4 years, and I grew up in Tacoma and Seattle, so its nothing new or exciting for me.

Lele - posted on 02/13/2014

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We are currently stationed in bliss and I love it. The variety is amazing for schools and things to do like hiking mountain climbing (some of the best spots in texas are here) etc. If u actually put yourself out there and get over the racist things of oh theres too many "Hispanics" mumbo jumbo you will enjoy it. As a language professor we have to face the reality that everywhere you go you will need to be billingual to go up in the position. Its fact. Gov't agencies are doing it, I dont see why people expect other places not to. Now the locals are super sweet, the people you have to be cautious with are those from across the border that come to shop in El Paso. Of course maby places cater to spanish speaking because before ft bliss expanded their revenue came from across the border. Business people are smart they will do what benefits them and here its hiring people that are billingual. Being from florida the culture shock wasnt that bad, and if you want real authentic mexican food you have to go out and look for it. Theres plenty of places. And unless youve eaten at a restaurant IN mexico to compare I dont see how you can say Mexican food here sucks. It is what you make of it (as my husband says) el pasos university now has one of the leading nursing programs and is becoming tier one in research but you save a pretty penny. Hope this helps anyone coming out to Bliss dont listen to the negative Nancy s and stay away from the North East which is the Ghetto.

Miranda - posted on 10/14/2013

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el paso is the worst. No one will speak english to you and everyone is rude! :/

Amy - posted on 09/04/2013

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I live in El Paso ( Ft Bliss) and I completely agree with Jennifer. I'm from Phoenix, Az so I thought I would be fine here seeing as we have lots of Hispanics in Phoenix NOPE. I've been told by my college professor that I probably won't get a job off base unless I speak Spanish. I'm fine and dandy with bilingual but this is ridiculous. I went to a Bank of America and had to come back another day because their English speaking employee wasn't there! And there's lots of places that are "blacklisted" where army get in trouble if caught there. I'm not allowed to shop at the grocery store across the street because it was caught SEX TRAFFICING! P.s. Even the Mexican food here sucks. I personally escape back to my family in phx as much as possible but I know that isn't an option for most wives.

Josie - posted on 09/01/2013

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Hey Jennifer iam sorry you feel like this. We are from el paso tx and we love it I miss everything about it. We are station in wiesbaden germany right know. If you dont like it move from their go back home nobody is forcing you to stay.

Ann - posted on 08/13/2013

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I totally agree with Lauren. We just moved from an army to an air force base and the difference is phenomenal! I can't get over it. We moved from CFB Petawawa To CFB Trenton.

Lauren - posted on 08/11/2013

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I personally love Air Force bases they are 10x better then any army post. My favorite place is Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany. My less favorite places has been so far Hood and Gordon.

Christy - posted on 07/23/2013

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We are also stationed here at schofield barracks in Hawaii with our soon to be 4 yr old it's not too bad but far from home!

Shavonne - posted on 06/12/2013

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I would recommend. Fort Lewis, fort Stewart, & mac dill air force base.. I would NEVER. EVER recommend. Fort polk, Louisiana

Alicia Mixon - posted on 02/13/2013

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We are currently at Benning in GA. Its definately a change from our Previous Station which was also Fort Irwin CA. Other than being really far from other things to do and from family. Irwin isnt such a bad place. The community was really nice, the people were too. We lived in Sandy Basin which was one of the newer housing and loved it. We also had our 1st daughter there. Its really a beautiful place but also in the middle of nowhere :). here at Benning/ Columbus we are off post and within ten min of everything. Base is about a 20 min drive. Fine by me! We love it. Were leaving soon and have yet to know where we are going.

Tiffany - posted on 01/25/2013

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We are stationed in Fort Irwin, CA and I would not recommend it to anyone. We have 2 children (6 & 8) and the schools are ok. Fort Irwin is a training base so your husband will most likely be gone for 2 weeks of every month and they do not get any time off for anything during those 2 weeks. Not Dr appts, parent teacher conferences, school programs NOTHING. The closest town is 31 miles away and is Barstow, it is a sad little town that has been hit hard by the economy, with lots of homelessness and crime and very few stores. It is very hot here during the summer (June-September) like 110+ and it has only rained 3 times in 2 yrs. The housing managment is not very good and most of the houses are falling apart (ours included). It is in the middle of LA and Las Vegas (2 1/2 hrs either way) so that makes up for some but not a whole lot. I know they are sending more and more guys here and they are building more houses so they can bring even more. Avoid Fort Irwin I dont know a single person who is happy here!

Janey - posted on 09/12/2012

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The Fort Lewis area is really beautiful and there is a lot to do.



Fort Hood can be a good place if you play it right. On post might be okay, but if you drive away from Killeen the back way and go to Belton, you will find a different world, much safer, convenient, the best schools in the area. The commute the back way is very pretty countryside and only takes 18 minutes from my house, less from the edge of town. Just don't live in Killeen. Some people like it, but you have to be very careful about which parts of town you are in and realize that in public you have a mix of elements. Belton is much safer and less stressful in my opinion.



I don't know the other posts, but some of the comments above are consistent with what I've heard.

Janey - posted on 09/12/2012

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The Fort Lewis area is really beautiful and there is a lot to do.



Fort Hood can be a good place if you play it right. On post might be okay, but if you drive away from Killeen the back way and go to Belton, you will find a different world, much safer, convenient, the best schools in the area. The commute the back way is very pretty countryside and only takes 18 minutes from my house, less from the edge of town. Just don't live in Killeen. Some people like it, but you have to be very careful about which parts of town you are in and realize that in public you have a mix of elements. Belton is much safer and less stressful in my opinion.



I don't know the other posts, but some of the comments above are consistent with what I've heard.

Janey - posted on 09/12/2012

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The Fort Lewis area is really beautiful and there is a lot to do.



Fort Hood can be a good place if you play it right. On post might be okay, but if you drive away from Killeen the back way and go to Belton, you will find a different world, much safer, convenient, the best schools in the area. The commute the back way is very pretty countryside and only takes 18 minutes from my house, less from the edge of town. Just don't live in Killeen. Some people like it, but you have to be very careful about which parts of town you are in and realize that in public you have a mix of elements. Belton is much safer and less stressful in my opinion.



I don't know the other posts, but some of the comments above are consistent with what I've heard.

Kimberly - posted on 07/18/2012

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can i ask you why it is awefull at ft drum? I don't think it is aweful at all! I live here and besides the cooler winters, it is actually very beautiful.

Jessica - posted on 05/18/2012

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we are at ft lewis i love it here but it rains alot the summers are really nice not to hot and not cold but they are short but there is alot to do out side its one of a kind. we are looking for another post becuase my hubs will be able to go some were else when he gets back from deployment and he hates the rain haha so we are looking at his first duty station like fort campbell but im not sold on it so i am looking for some where warm and that is near things we like to do... but Lewis is nice it has everything from the ocean to the mts. and the on post housing is nice its just a long wait list so if you want this base and on post housing get on the list asap ... but the houses are really good size and there are alot of new ones being built good luck with your choices

Jenny - posted on 05/11/2012

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Ft. Carson is amazing they are colleges nearby, and so many outdoor activities you would enjoy it here we live on post and all the kids play together on our street it pretty sweet.

Elisa - posted on 05/06/2012

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Ft Carson is beautiful and there is a lot to do there.
Ft belviour is also very nice, but area is soooooooo expensive.
We are heading back to ft. Carson ( again )
And r super excited.

Jamie - posted on 03/21/2012

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Im also looking for a post to be stationed at as of right now for my family. Im thinking of ft lewis but i do have to say Ft carson is where my brother is and theyre is alot to do there ive been there myself to visit very beautiful, but i do not recommend families going there is so much crime there on and off post. when i was there to visit i got lost to my brothers house so we stopped in Walmart parking lot to meet him and had a cop come up to us asking for our id and why we were just sitting there. He then told us its not a safe place here to be waiting here so late lots of gangs and drug dealers. Theres drive byes and has been at the Walmart we were waiting by. You can type in to find out the crimes there. My brother has army friends who are partaking in gangs there and even the police fbi are looking into some of the companies there who have gang affiliated soldiers. Also if ur husband were to deploy and got ptsd the Sgts. and other ncos till them theyre fine and theyre being bbys there is a documentary out on tht post and ptsd i recommend it. Ive been spreading the word ever since just because i cant see other soldiers and their families go there and be surrounding by that sort of stuff.

Ashley - posted on 02/22/2012

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We live at fort drum, ny. We've been here almost 2 years now and I love it here. The on post housing are huge. We live in the townhouses on post and there great!! There is a lot to do on arsenal street which is only like 10 minutes from post. The only downside I would have is the weather. It snows A LOT here, and lots of it,every day of the week it seems like. Lol. Other then that it's GREAT! We're looking to move to Stewart though. Any word on how fort Stewart is? :)

Teresa - posted on 02/04/2012

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FORT CARSON CO. IS GREAT FOR RAISING KIDS, IF U LIKE SNOW. OUR HOME FORT STEWART GA, IS A GREAT PLACE WEATHER IS WONDERFUL AND VERY KID FRIENDLY. CLOSE TO BEACHES AND BIG CITIES.I ATTEND ARMSTRONG ATLANTIC STATE UNIVERSITY THAT HAS A GREAT NURSING PROGRAM. I AM A CHILDHOOD ED. MAJOR CAN RECOMMEND DAYCARES AND BABYSITTERS.WE ARE RETIRED ARMY SO LET ME KNOW WHERE U DO GET AND WILL LET U KNOW IF WE WERE THERE BEFORE AND TELL U HOW IT IS OR HOW U CAN GET INFO...GOOD LUCK NO MATTER WHERE U GO. GOD BLESS..

Shonda - posted on 10/02/2011

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I totally agree..... that was my 1st duty station. Its unfortunate that we live in the United States of America and have to deal w/ places like that don't get me wrong I lov the moutains and thats about it. LOL I am a AA female so I thiink it was extra hard for us.

User - posted on 05/31/2011

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I live in Macdill AFB and is a nice place, my husband is in the army and i have to say i love the idea is just has to go deploy just for 6 months and for family, this base always have something to do for the kids and of course Disney and others parks nearby..people say it is expensive but honestly if you live off post is better for your pocket, if you dont want to spend money the beach is at the base so you can take your kids there. Universities and schools are the best. Also when you practice as a nurse's Hospital of Tampa is 20 minutes from the base...Good luck i hope this help

Maya - posted on 03/31/2011

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Elizabeth - posted on 02/15/2011

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I forgot to mention... the nicest thing about Hawai'i is that there are multiple military installations. I have friends that lived on or near different ones but worked at Schofield. Then they could just go to the one nearby for the Commissary and PX or NEX. The NEX is nice... it's like a real mall with two levels and the commissary is in the same place there. You don't even have to go on post to get there, but you definitely need your id to get in.

Rebecca - posted on 02/14/2011

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We are at Ft. Knox now and far as things go it has it's pluses and minuses.
There are quite a few schools nearby for you to get your BS in nursing (my best friend just finished, and where she went is 20-30 min away from base).
There is Louisville nearby with lots of family oriented things. All in all,not a bad post and the military mentality is that of a tight knit community.

Elizabeth - posted on 02/13/2011

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We're at Schofield Barracks and hate it. Everything is so expensive. The only bright side is it is possible to live off post and pocket some of the BAH if you have enough rank. To put it this way: We lived off post and were renting a 3 bedroom townhouse for 1800 plus all of the utilities. It would have been slightly cheaper to live on post and we would have had a bigger house with a garage. (We only did it because we had a roommate at first but when he suddenly got married moved out it was no longer a good idea financially)

There are some family things to do and if you love the humid weather you'd like it... it grew on me eventually but I am ecstatic to PCS this fall! I'm not a fan of Hawai'i. In my opinion it's a good place to vacation. Also, I did like the winter/rainy season.

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Im at Ft. Bliss now.....they are rebuilding the post and housing. But if you are the kind of wife that like to work and contribute to the house hold. NOT! If you are not bi~lingual its going to br hard to find a job. Thats what i hate about El Paso. Its a bi~lingual city. It caters to the Hispanics. Im so ready to go!!!!!! You can go some places and no one speaks English Its like being in another country. But it is a nice size city. The post is nice too.

Shannon - posted on 02/11/2011

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I do not know why anyone would say Ft Bragg is good at all. I am even from the area...Born and raised. The schools are horrible, strip clubs everywhere, postitutes walking around, and the traffic is horrible. In one year, I got into 4 accidents. I am not the only one who has had this experience. My son and I are now at Ft Drum and I can see how far behind the schools are at Bragg. I love it here at Ft Drum but the winters are not for the timid or someone who cannot bare below zero temps and shoveling about everyday for about 4 months straight. The spring, summer, and fall are fabulous here! The school are SUPER! The only reason we are moving is because I cannot take the winters while he deploys. It is too much for me.

Jennifer - posted on 10/14/2010

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I loved Fort Wainwright up in Alaska. It is a beautiful place to be and they had quite a few things for children during both the winter and summer months. I can not tell you much about them as when I was there I was enlisted so I didn't spend as much time with the children, but it is a beautiful place to be. It;s really not that cold either.

Alicia - posted on 10/13/2010

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I met my husband at Ft. Hood.........I liked it there. There was alot to do there. I agree that everyone is different when it comes to the base you like, so it would be hard to get advice from others. I currently live in Ft. Campbell, KY and I HATE IT. It is mostly my husbands unit though. I'm grew up in the city so to me it is very boring here and not alot to do unless the park is on your main event everyday. Good luck on finding the best place for you!

Jennifer - posted on 07/01/2009

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I'm currently at Ft. Wainwright, Alaska and if winters don't bother you, then this is a pretty nice place. I like the post, and it has all new housing. It's really nice. They are expanding the p/x right now. The post is growing really fast, as is the town. Yes, it gets really cold in the winter, but the summers are beautiful and fantastic. There is a lot of nature stuff to do, and the post has tons of activities. I really enjoy it here.

Priscilla - posted on 06/29/2009

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I'm currently at Fort Bliss/El Paso and I hear a lot of people HATE it here, but we love it here. Plenty of things to do for the family, lots of near by day drips to make, there's a few schools out here that are close by. It all depends on his MOS though, so not sure if it'd be an option or not. Good luck!

Jenn - posted on 06/28/2009

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I was married to army and we were stationed on an AFB because of his MOS, he worked on the AFB but did his clerical things with the army base. We lived on Lackland AFB near Ft. Sam Huston for almost 4 years and loved it there. There is a lot to do in San Antonio, anything you can imagine from camping, tubing, and theme parks. Not to mention there are several major colleges/universities nearby and lots of very good hospitals.



Ft. Hood is not a good choice, I had a lot of friends go there and they hated every minute there, housing was a joke and there is only like one decent apartment complex there not family friendly and they are always getting deployed.

Carrie - posted on 06/25/2009

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So, like some others have said, everyone is different. No matter where you go, they are going to deploy. Right now, the main units on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii are deploying every other year. We are getting ready to leave Hawaii, and we couldn't be happier because the unit my husband is in is terrible. Anyway, we are going to Fort Hood, and we were only given the options of Fort Hood, TX and Fort Drum, NY because they are trying to fill units there. It all depends on what is available when they put your husband on assignment and what his MOS is. My husband was stationed at Fort Huachuca, Arizona before we were married. He liked it there, but when he was there; he said there was not a whole lot to the town. Also look in to the University of Phoenix online to see about getting a nursing degree. I plan on getting starting on my masters in nursing once we move, but I have also looked into doing it online so I have the flexiblity of moving. Good luck with that.

Megan - posted on 06/24/2009

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we are at ft.lewis. and its good hear. they have alot to offer for familys. we been hear for 2 years now. good luck

Melissa - posted on 06/22/2009

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I'm at Ft. Lewis right now so I can comment on here but I have no experience with any other bases. We have only been here a year, but I like the base. It seems very kid friendly and there are lots of outdoor things to do on and off base. Also there are lots of different places nearby for education and if I'm correct spouses can get some type of tuition assitance from the base (heard about it, but not positive on how it works). So I know Ft. Lewis has everything that you typed you were looking for in a place. The only negative thing I have to say really would be the traffic, but it can be somewhat avoided depending on where you live.

[deleted account]

The best army bases for families in my eyes are Fort Carson, Fort Lewis, Scofield Barracks Hawaii,

The worst is Fort Riley Kansas....here visiting hubby no a road trip and it is aweful in the mddle of nowhere.



Fort Drm gets lots of snow

Fort Bragg was good. I hated it when we lived there but when we left we wished we were there. They have great housing now with community pools.

[deleted account]

The best army bases for families in my eyes are Fort Carson, Fort Lewis, Scofield Barracks Hawaii,

The worst is Fort Riley Kansas....here visiting hubby no a road trip and it is aweful in the mddle of nowhere.



Fort Drm gets lots of snow

Fort Bragg was good. I hated it when we lived there but when we left we wished we were there. They have great housing now with community pools.

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